Although conservative and liberal political thought represent two sometimes diametrically opposed societal viewpoints there inclusion in a pure democratic framework that incorporates discourse across this entire spectrum is essential. Any diminution or overthrow of either of these political antipodes enslaves intellectual dialog to the ever more stilted viewpoints enshrined by those in power. Cooperation is therefore the key to bridging the seemingly insurmountable distance that separates inquiring minds. But without a viscous egalitarian non-confrontational form of liberty that respects all ideas and perspectives unshackled from elite dictates the culture deteriorates slowly towards dissolution.
So if we were to generalize what the single most important ingredient of a truly democratic civilization is it would have to be absolute freedom unencumbered by fear of oppression. This is a society that values diversity, a nation-state so secure in its stability that it does not feel the need to invade the privacy of its citizens. For an honest liberty never submerges the opinions of those it does not agree with under a sludge of contorted legalisms. The majestically inclusive culture prides itself in not just allowing freedom of speech but also promoting it even when those voices are obtuse to majority opinion.
Unfortunately, all of this presupposes that pure unadulterated liberty is protected by an engaged electorate. These are citizens who have resolved to cooperate to preserve their constituent rights even though they may not agree on many issues. What is essential is that no block of likeminded persons, be it for power, money, or fame coordinate the enslavement of those less fortunate. This only guarantees stagnation. Ideas that are regurgitated within the accepted norms of what is typically an elite power structure that subsumes all societal components in a system of favoritism is a recipe for disaster. Cultural stasis ensues leading ultimately to revolution spurred on by the alienated many seeking redress for the endemic inequity and inequality of a state operated for the exclusive benefit of a few royals.
First generation civilizations have survived this cooperative inflection point by realizing the worth of every single citizen. No idea or outlook can be placed beyond value if a sentient race wants to survive. Respect for the opinions of others is a prerequisite for moving past the dangers of self-indulgent egotistical behaviors that typically destroy societies. No single view can be deemed wrong only contrary to your current comprehension. Within a real democracy viewpoints morph into pliable fluid abstractions that evolve inside the intellectually stimulated environment. Change is constant – never feared, but welcomed. There is no need to covertly or overtly keep citizens under constant surveillance for fear they may inspire belief systems detrimental to the establishment status quo because there is no institutionalized elite power base to protect. The favors of elitism have not been granted so the free flow of ideas is not dangerous to a government linked directly to its constituents.
From a planetary perspective we may be on the outskirts of the galaxy but given the general societal dynamics at play humanity is not immune from societal collapse. It may even be theorized that millions of pre-advanced cultures have fallen only to be reawakened centuries later. There is no guarantee that human beings will come together in a single world democracy that will include every planetary citizen. This presupposes that the primate proclivity to cleave to a clan can be overcome. Many more genetically inclined cooperative species may have fallen prey to sociopathic tendencies so moving nicely across the eons in a first generation civilization may be quite a feat of species cohesiveness. Probably more prevalent are the second, third, and successive generational cultures that have reached a pinnacle many times only to fall flat into oblivion.
What is apparent from those successes at maintaining first generational status is that their cultures treasured a bottom-up percolation of free spirited freedom. Let us hope this is the path that we are determined to take, regardless of the personal costs.